Dear Nigerians, Independence is green | Rachael Ogunmuyiwa

Green is just a colour, yes. But at a figurative level, it symbolizes many things which include growth, fertility, rebirth, freshness, prosperity, safety and progress. In Japanese culture, green is associated with eternal life while it is a sacred colour in Islam. Should one go on and on about the representatives of green, there is going to be an endless list.

In 1959, the flag of Nigeria was designed and was officially adopted on 1 October, 1960. The designer, late Taiwo Akinkunmi must have had so much expectation concerning what and where Nigeria would be in 50 years’ time and this must have informed the choice of one of the colours. Mind if we leave the other colour out of this? We all know where we belong in terms of moral and political purity. We can only pray that outgrowing presence of religious centres keep us under check. So, let us talk green.

As we celebrate our independence year after year, we are still battling with myriads of problem that are detriment to our peace, safety, stability and progress. Has the labour of our heroes past not been in vain? Does a nation claim to be independent if it still dependent on other countries to meet the basic needs of her citizens such as feeding, clothing, and other consumables? This is 2018, have we been able to produce our own pencils? We cannot be trusted to conduct a free and fair election without having to deal with rigging and other related violence which are becoming intricate parts of our democracy. Of course, independence does not mean the absence of interdependency yet we cannot say, strongly, that we are independent.

Without doubt, being independent is full of expectations and we must ask ourselves if we have lived up to these expectations. As we celebrate, prospects must be set for the years ahead if we shall have to continue to celebrate this façade called independence.

We need to get rid of our dubious democracy of endemic corruption and power hungry leaders who have led Nigeria to the zenith of implosion. A truly democratic system of government where it is indeed a government of the people, by the people and for the people is the first step that we need to take. The sores on our politics/governance are before the eyes of the world except if we refuse to see our own problems. The recent electoral malpractices during the inconclusively conclusive election in Osun state and the various arguments that followed only remind us that we are yet to get to the bank of the river let alone stand a chance to fetch water. What a long walk 58 years later! While there is no society which has truly risen above the dirt of politicking but our case, my fellow Nigerians, is erringly alarming. With the many dubious activities which we have done under the guise of democracy, our dead heroes are unlikely to be in a forgiving mood.

Economically, our greenness is stained with the blood of the many goose which lays golden eggs that have been killed due to negligence, ineptitude and irresponsible leadership. Corruption is now the enemy to effective execution of economic policies. Even the anti-corruption institutions have been dragged into the mud of what they should fight against.

How far have come agriculturally? What is the ratio of our importation of consumables in respect to exportation of agricultural products? Have we not lost our place in the international markets?Agriculture should be promoted. This is also one of the steps towards achieving stellar success as a nation. If agriculture continues to suffer, this country is in a very big problem. It is no crime if everyone, irrespective of class and status, engage in agriculture whether directly or indirectly.

Our education sector which is a necessary catalyst suffers due to neglect. Every year, universities send out graduates who are mostly unemployable; who lack the innovation and creativity to create jobs by themselves. Education in Nigeria lacks basic values and while numbers increase, qualities are reducing. Education remains the panacea to the development and growth of any nation and a result, a vision-driven government must keep all hands on deck to ensure a qualitative and quantitative education in a continuing form.

Independence is green. As individuals, as a nation, we must make a case for what we stand for. After 58 years, do we deserve this or not? Much work remains undone. Our sophisticated problems may not be completely eradicated at ones; but we can begin to take gradual and procedural steps towards eliminating them. We should be the shining light as an acclaimed giant of Africa. Let us go GREEN! The need to seek freshness and a great country devoid of ethnic and religious violence is not to be left in the hands of our politicians alone. As we celebrate, let us seek the rebirth of greenness.

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